By Natasja Sheriff NEW YORK (Reuters) - Testimony at the trial of a former grocery store worker accused of murdering a New York City boy in 1979 focused on Thursday on years of drug abuse by the accused man, who defense attorneys contend is severely mentally ill and delusional. Pedro Hernandez, 54, charged with kidnapping and murdering 6-year-old Etan Patz, confessed to police in 2012 that he choked the boy, stuffed him in a garbage bag and box and left the body in a New York alley. Defense attorneys say Hernandez concocted a false confession under police coercion and suffers from mental illness and hallucinations. Patz vanished as he walked alone for the first time to a school bus stop in his Manhattan neighborhood on May 25, 1979.
DETROIT (AP) — Calling her a "terrorist" from decades ago who has turned to "good works," a judge sentenced a Chicago activist on Thursday to 18 months in prison for lying about her convictions for bombings in Israel when she sought U.S. citizenship.
CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — The triggerman in the Pamela Smart murder trial was granted parole Thursday, nearly 25 years after he killed his school instructor's husband and launched a global spectacle packed with lurid details of sex and manipulation.
MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The Wisconsin Department of Justice's report on the shooting of an unarmed 19-year-old biracial man by a white Madison police officer should be sent to prosecutors in about two weeks, the state attorney general said Thursday.
AMITYVILLE, N.Y. (AP) — A New Jersey escort was buried during a graveside funeral Thursday, nearly five years after her disappearance led to the discovery of 10 victims of a suspected serial killer on Long Island.
By Heide Brandes OKLAHOMA CITY (Reuters) - The University of Oklahoma's renowned football team has suspended practice for a week in protest against a racist video linked to a fraternity and called for punishment of its leadership, team members said on Thursday. The 10-second video was shot on a bus chartered for a date night by the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity and posted online on Sunday. "It is our passionately expressed desire as members of the football team for the leadership of SAE to be expelled, suspended or otherwise disciplined severely," a statement from the football team said, adding that leaders of the fraternity helped foster a culture of intolerance. The football team, with the support of its coach, said it will hold a demonstration over the video during normal practice time on Thursday.
By Dana Feldman and Dan Whitcomb LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A California judge on Thursday removed local prosecutors from the case against an ex-tugboat worker who killed eight people in a 2011 shooting rampage at an Orange County hair salon, citing discovery violations and accusations of misconduct. In recusing the Orange County District Attorney's office, Goethals ruled that the state attorney general's office should take over the case, but the judge stayed his ruling until March 20 to give that office time to appeal that decision. "As the chief law enforcement officer in this county the District Attorney is responsible for the actions of his agents. Orange County District Attorney's spokeswoman Susan Kang Schroeder said prosecutors would meet with California's attorney general to consider an appeal.